I Judge Books by Their Covers and So Do Your Customers

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“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sorry, but I do. Chances are you do too. If not, then how do you judge it? Maybe read the first chapter? Okay, but when do you have the time to do that? Book covers help us to determine the quality of the book, the relevancy of the book, the relatability of the book, and the intent of the author. Yeah, I judge books by their covers… and so do your customers.

I would like to make the argument that your brand’s “cover” is your video marketing. In the past, perhaps it was solely your website. But not anymore. In the same way that everyone can agree that a great website is non-negotiable, I’m here to argue that great videos are now non-negotiable. We’ve reached the point in history where both website and video have to be great all the time. There’s no going back. The cover(s) must be great, because you’re being judged with each passing frame.

You Don’t Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Like it or not, we as people judge… constantly. We scan our environment, constantly judging what we see and hear. We have to, it’s how we make almost every buying decision we encounter. “Is this meat fresh?” “Is this company trustworthy?” “Is this school good for my kids?” and on and on it goes. Always judging.

People, in general, are also really busy. Your target customer is really busy. If you run a grocery store, your customers aren’t going to stick around to hear you explain why your sign isn’t lit, your store smells bad, or your prices are too high. So why would you think your brand is any different? No matter what you’re selling, your customer isn’t going to stick around while you explain why you “phoned” in the design of your video. Before you know it, they’ll be on your competitor’s site seeing how they “feel” about what they have to offer.

I say it all the time, “the best companies with the best products don’t get always get chosen.” They just don’t. I could list out so many examples of this being true, but I think we all inherently know that it’s true. So who gets chosen? Those who speak to the customer's pain empathetically, deliver a solution clearly and establish TRUST consistently. If the aesthetics of our brand don’t match the solution it’s promising, our human brains instantly detect fraud or incompetence. Once we detect fraud or incompetence, we instantly reduce our trust in that brand and it’s hard to ever trust that brand fully… forever.

Great Video Isn’t a “Nice to Have” Anymore

There may have been a time several years ago when a “good enough” video was good enough. That period of time is over and good enough isn’t good enough anymore. Your audience is now a video expert. They can detect the subtlest nuance and immediately identify whether your video is great in a heartbeat (or 24 frames). Your audience subconsciously knows the intended message of every video you produce and they will instantly (although still subconsciously) judge your effort. Their judgment will result in one of two actions, either they will keep watching or they will click away. Great video is mandatory to engage your Key Persona™, because today, they’re smarter than ever.

Now, it’s important to note that not all great videos are expensive. Depending on your Key Persuasion™ (the specific way that you persuade your Key Persona™), the great video that you need to produce may not require detail-heavy design or high-production value. For example, if you’re trying to teach someone how to use a specific function on a blow dryer, you may not need a very in-depth video to achieve the Key Persuasion™.

But when it IS time to make an expensive video, you can’t cut corners or you’ll lose your audience. Every video that your brand produces must be great because every video you produce will directly reflect the entire brand. Videos have become the “voice” of every brand. They speak for the brand. They say what’s valued, both with words and with aesthetic. When you cut corners on aesthetic, it’s no different than a concierge at a fine hotel wearing sweatpants. A fine hotel would never allow that to happen because they want every “representative” of the hotel to speak/show a consistent message that aligns with what it’s promising to deliver.

We, humans, are a predictable bunch when it comes to being consumers. We all want to pay for things that solve a problem. We want that problem to be solved in quality and quantity commensurate to the price we’re paying for it. For those of us selling something, the recipe for marketing is simple: Determine how much trust is needed for the customer to buy the solution to the problem that we’re selling. Then, never create any marketing materials below that standard. Especially video, because it speaks louder for our brand than any other marketing asset.  

Your customers judge books by their covers and they will judge your brand by your videos.

For over a decade, hundreds of top brands have trusted VeracityColab to make thousands of great videos that have made amazing first impressions. We’d love to talk to you about how we can do that for you next.

Charlie Matz